In the most recent episode of The Mandalorian, we returned to Coruscant, getting to see the planet once again in live-action – and for the first time ever in the New Republic era!
Among the sites visited on the planet was Umate, the tip of a large mountain. That might have been a surprising appearance to some viewers, so let’s consider the brief history of Umate and what makes it so significant.
It is, as the episode explained, the tip of the highest mountain on Coruscant. It might be hard to believe that the planet was once anything other than the planet-wide metropolis we know it as, and that’s marked the planet for ages, but the original terrain of the planet included mountains. The tallest mountain was Umate, and rather than tear it down or cover it up, it was decided to allow the peak to remain exposed. As the city sprang up around it (and, in lower levels, was even incorporated into it), the mountain’s peak became the only place on the entire planet where the original terrain could be seen.
Umate is one of the key sites in Coruscant’s Monument Plaza, which is actually glimpsed in the special edition ending of Return of the Jedi as the galaxy celebrates the Empire’s defeat. It also showed up in The Clone Wars, the site of a stealth conversation between Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mandalorian Duchess Satine Kryze. And then in the first novel of The High Republic era, Light of the Jedi, Umate is a place that Chancellor Lina Soh visits.
Soh enjoyed visiting Umate as a reminder of the beauty of the planet’s real nature, and Charles Soule writes in that novel:
“Umate remained, though, the benefit of a choice made generation after generation to preserve the mountain even in this attenuated form. Lina Soh appreciated that—the way societies could choose heritage over progress, represented here in living stone. But to the chancellor, Umate had a second meaning. A symbolism she would never voice, never speak aloud, as it went against the general spirit of optimism and hope and possibility that was a cornerstone of her government and indeed, the Republic itself. That meaning was this: There was nothing so big it could not be swallowed up. Nothing so strong it could not be humbled. Nothing so tall it could not be made small. Not a mountain, and not the Republic.”
It’s really cool to see a beloved and significant site appearing in live-action for the first time, and it’s an example of how Star Wars can feel so connected without feeling forced. But in light of Soh’s thoughts about Umate, it’s also a reminder that this planet has endured many different governments, and as the New Republic struggles to establish themselves in the galaxy, Umate is a testament to the timeless resilience of one of the galaxy’s most influential worlds.